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110 plus decibels bellowing at my inattentive cochlea

Yow. No wonder that hurts.

Well, programme 2.  This is the real magic of this newfangled piece of technogadetry.  It cuts out background noise.

Reading this, I'm disappointed it has taken this long. Audio isn't rocket science and there are all kinds of clever things, from adaptive filtering and equalisation to echo cancellation to feedback elimination that should be standard issue on any audio processor.

The feedback is inexcusable. It's fantastically simple to design an audio processor that recognises and eliminates feedback. I have no idea why it's not included as a standard feature.

But this is interesting for other reasons. One of the problems with any kind of location recording is that what ends up on the tape and/or hard disk isn't what you hear when you're there. Normally the brain is good at prioritising certain sounds. So - e.g. - if you're listening to a busker, you won't hear people's footsteps, passing traffic, or other ambient noise.

It's always interested me that this changes if you use a microphone and a pair of headphones. For some reason this turns off the brain's filtering abilities and suddenly all of those ambient sounds become just as important as the 'target' sound.

The effect works whether you listen to a recording later, or through headphones on the spot. It would be interesting to know what's happening there. If you could somehow get the built-in filtering to work again, it might do something useful for hearing aid design.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Aug 30th, 2007 at 05:50:36 PM EST

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